Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and baking soda) with a whisk. Set aside. Stir saffron threads into two tablespoons milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup milk, egg, and one teaspoon vanilla. Add cooled saffron mixture and whisk well to incorporate. [Do not spill on clothes. Saffron stains. I may or may not know this from personal experience.] Marvel over brilliant yellow color. Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and whisk gently to combine. Resist over-mixing -- whisk only until ingredients are well-incorporated. Pour into cupcake wrappers and bake for 20 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for 15 minutes. While the cupcakes cool, stir water and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in remaining teaspoon vanilla. Poke holes evenly in the cupcakes with a wooden skewer. Spoon the vanilla syrup over the top of the cupcakes. Let cool to room temperature.
Saffron Frosting Instructions
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream/sugar if needed for spreading consistency